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Women in the Media: From the Margins to the Mainstream (February 2020): A Word about Women’s Page Journalism

by Camille McCutcheon

A Word about Women’s Page Journalism

From the 1880s through the 1970s, the majority of women employed by newspapers worked on the “women’s page,” which comprised articles on family, food, society, and fashion—matters considered to be irrelevant and fluff. So notes Kimberly Wilmot Voss in her two important books about women’s page journalism, an area within journalism that has received almost no scholarly attention. In Re-evaluating Women’s Page Journalism in the Post–World War II Era: Celebrating Soft News, Voss discusses the significance of women’s page journalism from the 1950s through the early 1970s, analyzes the stories in the women’s pages, and highlights several prominent women’s page journalists. (Among the prominent twentieth-century women’s page journalists are Louella Parsons and Hope Ridings Miller, discussed at the beginning of this essay.) The final chapter of Voss’s book is valuable for its state-by-state listing of women’s page journalists. The entries include brief biographical information on the journalists. In her earlier book, The Food Section: Newspaper Women and the Culinary Community, Voss traces the history of food sections, which were a common part of the women’s pages from the 1940s through the early 1970s, and looks at the contribution of women food editors as a group. In addition to publishing casserole recipes, articles in food sections reported on topics such as food safety and nutrition, national food news, and restaurant reviews. In an appendix, Voss provides a listing of the names and biographies of the top female newspaper food editors (1945–75).

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